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VBSO announces universal security screening for Virginia Beach Courthouse

In an effort to improve public safety, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office is implementing universal security screening for all persons entering the Virginia Beach Courthouse effective Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Only sworn public safety officers on official business will be exempt from screening. All other persons – including attorneys and civilian employees assigned to work inside the Courthouse – will be required to be screened.

The change is as a result of ongoing efforts to improve security at the Courthouse, which is one of the most heavily trafficked public buildings in the city. Security enhancements have been ongoing since the Sheriff’s Office conducted an extensive threat assessment of the building in 2017, followed by a subsequent security review in February 2019.

“Public safety is our first priority at the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Ken Stolle. “We understand that this change may be inconvenient, but we have to prioritize safety above convenience. We must also be proactive and ever-vigilant in fulfilling our obligation to safeguard the hundreds of people who come into the Courthouse every day.”

Security staffing will be increased to facilitate the additional screenings. However, members of the public should give themselves additional time to get through security when reporting for a court hearing or other time-sensitive matter.

Everyone entering the Courthouse will be searched with a magnetometer and their belongings screened by an X-ray machine. As always, weapons (including knives and firearms), large liquids (with the exception of baby formula and small items such as hand sanitizers) and electronic devices (including cellphones) are prohibited inside the Courthouse. Public safety officers, attorneys, reporters and employees with required credentials will still be permitted to bring their cellphones, laptops, etc. into the building. Security personnel retain the right to prohibit any item they deem a potential threat to public safety.

“We will do everything we can to make our enhanced security screening process as efficient as possible,” said Chief Deputy Rocky Holcomb. “You can help by giving yourself some extra time, leaving unnecessary items at home and being prepared to be searched. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to make the Courthouse as safe as it can be.”

Additional information about Virginia Beach Courthouse security is available at vbso.net/security.

Any questions or requests for additional information may be directed to: Kathy Hieatt, Public Information Officer: 757.385.8446.